Rail marketing key

Construction work on the railway has already brought economic benefits to the Borders

Construction work on the railway has already brought economic benefits to the Borders

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The ‘packaging’ of attractions and events is vital for effective marketing of the area to people using the railway, councillors have been told.

Speaking about the economic opportunities the railway will offer, Bryan McGrath, SBC’s chief economic development officer, said: “We do have a lot to offer, but it is about how we package it.

“The challenge is to ensure that the tourism ‘offer’ and products for tourists are co-ordinated and appropriate.

“There will be opportunities for increased visitor numbers for attractions such as Abbotsford and Melrose Abbey, but the real gains will come from making wider links and connections.”

A ‘Sir Walter Scott Trail’ has already been developed.

Officers are working along with the area tourism partnership, VisitScotland, Transport Scotland and Edinburgh and Midlothian councils to develop a joint marketing plan, and £20,000 has been allocated by SBC for marketing work this year.

It is expected that around £50,000 will need to be put towards marketing in 2015/16.

Mr McGrath told the council’s economic development group that a further £190,000 has been found to enable two council officers to be appointed to manage ‘benefits realisation work’.

Mr McGrath said: “The reopening of the Borders Railway is a once in a generation investment for the Scottish Borders and it is crucial 
that businesses, with the support of community planning partnership, take advantage of the new economic opportunities that it will 

He added that a series of events organised for the opening week will hopefully attract national and possibly international press coverage.

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